Despite the rise of television, the internet and online streaming, radio continues to be one of the main ways we consume media.

13 February 2017

Radio offers a platform for a wide variety of voices, is a critical way we communicate in times of emergency, and continues to be a daily source of news, entertainment and current affairs for Australians.  

Throughout its history, radio has been able to successfully adapt to meet the changing needs of listeners and to find new audiences.

To celebrate World Radio Day, we’re taking a quick look at the history of radio in Australia:

  • 1922 – the first Australian radio broadcasting license is issued
  • 1932 – the Australian Broadcasting Commission is established
  • 1939 – Prime Minister Robert Menzies announces that Australia will be entering the Second World War on every radio station in Australia
  • 1954 – the transistor radio is invented, making radios portable and common in cars
  • 1972 – Australia’s first community radio station 5UV is founded
  • 1972 – the first Indigenous produced radio program premieres on 5UV – there are now over 130 Indigenous radio stations across Australia
  • 1974 – the first FM radio license in Australia is issued to 2MBS Sydney
  • 1975 – 2EA Sydney and 3EA Melbourne begin broadcasting in different languages. In 1977 these stations are expanded to become the Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) – today SBS broadcasts in over 60 languages
  • 1980 – the Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association (CAAMA) is created – today CAAMA has over 600,000 listeners across Australia
  • 2012 to now – the ABC and commercial radio providers introduce streaming apps to listen to radio on your mobile phone. Podcasts bring radio content to a whole new generation.

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